There is a lot of buzz about the new toning shoes like the Sketcher’s Shape-Ups and Rebock’s EasyTone Shoes. After all, who wouldn’t want to wear shoes that “burn more calories, tone muscles, improve posture and reduce joint stress”? Can these shoes really “tone your butt up to 28 percent more than regular sneakers just by walking”, or are these claims too good to be true?
It is not surprising that the research conducted by the sneaker manufacturers found that they do work. However, these studies were not very well designed because they were not peer reviewed and obviously the sneaker manufactures had something to gain from the positive results that they found. To put these shoes (and claims) to the test, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) enlisted exercise scientists from the University of Wisconson to conduct some of their own unbiased research.
What did they find? Unfortunately, the results weren’t as positive and they found that these shoes are no better for toning than regular sneakers. They state that there is “no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.” So, why do people sometimes feel sore after their first time wearing these shoes? These shoes do cause people to use slightly different muscles since they have about 1 inch of padding (the same thing would happen if someone is unused to high-heals). So, until people get used to wearing these shoes they may feel a little muscle soreness, but unfortunately this does not translate into more toned muscles.
Bottom line- there is still no magic pill or quick fix when it comes to diet or exercise. If you want to burn more calories, the shoes won’t burn the calories for you. However, if you like the way the shoes feel and they inspire you to move more, then they are a good choice. If you want to burn more calories on your next walk without adding more time to your routine, try adding hand weights or find a route with more hills. This will lead to more toned muscles. Happy trails to you!